The Art of Strengths Coaching

G is for The Genuine Approach To Doing Good Work  

There are many ways to do fine work. One approach is to focus on when you feel genuine. You may then apply your gifts and do good work.

The genuine approach can take many forms. It can happen for you when, for example:

You feel in your element and do good work; 

You feel use your gifts and do good work;  

You feel go into a certain role and do good work.

When you do you follow some of these principles? Different people give different answers to this question. Here are some of the things they say.

I feel genuine when I am
doing the following kinds of work:

Helping a troubled person in my work as a counsellor … Caring for people in my role as a nurse … Doing interior design for houses … Singing certain kinds of songs as a performer.

Orchestrating teams to achieve a compelling goal … Solving technical problems when helping clients … Writing positive articles that may inspire people. 

Helping young footballers to move from the Academy to the First Team … Passing on knowledge that helps people to succeed … Making films that help audiences to appreciate the wonders of nature.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

How can you put yourself into more situations where you feel genuine? Let’s explore how you can follow this principle and do good work.

Being In Your Element

When are you in your element? What are the specific activities in which you feel at ease and yet able to excel? How can you do more of these things in the future?

Sir Ken Robinson’s famous TED talk on creativity encouraged many people to revisit the theme of being in their element. He later expanded on this in books such as The Element and Finding Your Element. He explained:

“Being in your Element is doing something for which you have a natural feel. It is more than doing things you are good at. You have to love it, too.”

People who follow this principle are more likely to feel alive and fulfilled, says Ken. They may then follow an organic path – rather than a linear path – in their work.

They may feel in their element when following certain themes – such as encouraging others, creating certain things or tackling specific challenges. They may then express these themes in many different ways – such as different roles or projects – during their career.

Being in element can bring great satisfaction. If you want to earn a living taking this approach, however, it may be important to add savvy. You can then aim to earn a salary by doing excellent work that helps other people to succeed.

If you wish, try tackling the following exercise. This invites you to describe the specific times you feel genuine when being in your element.

Using Your Gifts

Everybody has strengths. Everybody has talents in certain activities. The gifts they have been given can be used to do good work that helps people or the planet.

Many people feel humble and alive when applying their gifts. They enjoy the opportunity to use these in their daily lives and work. As the musician Marcus Miller said:

“It’s a great thing about being a musician: you don’t stop until the day you die, you can improve. So it’s a wonderful thing to do.”

Many people love to follow the spirit of their strengths and do superb work. Sometimes this comes easily, sometimes they need to follow rituals to channel this flow. They love to channel this spirit, however, and get a sense of satisfaction.

Such people may also feel grateful for the gifts they have been given. They echo similar sentiments to those expressed by the author Elizabeth Gilbert in one of her TED talks.

She described how our gifts do not belong to us – they are on loan to us. We cannot take credit for our gifts, but it is up to us how we use them. Some find this to be a remarkably freeing approach.

Elizabeth encouraged us to take this view when following the creative process. Here are some of the relevant passages from her talk.

In ancient Greece and ancient Rome people did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings back then.  

People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source for distant and unknowable reasons.

The Greeks famously called these divine attendant spirits of creativity ‘Daemons’. Socrates famously believed that he had a Daemon who spoke to him from afar.

The Romans had the same idea but they called that sort of disembodied spirit a ‘Genius’ … which was great because the Romans did not actually think that a genius was a particularly clever individual.

They believed that a genius was this sort of magical divine entity who was believed to literally live in the walls of an artist’s studio … and who would come out and invisibly assist the artist with their work and who would shape the outcome of that work.

Maybe artistry doesn’t have to be quite so full of anguish if you never happened to believe, in the first place, that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you.

But maybe if you just believed that they were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you’re finished. (This) starts to change everything. 

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the specific times you feel genuine when you are using some of the gifts you have been given.

Going Into Role 

Some people do good work by going into role. At first sight this may not seem to be genuine, but it actually is. They may feel at ease when working as a counsellor, nurse, educator, crisis manager or in another role.

Some introverts take this step. Whilst they are happy in their own company, they sometimes feel comfortable moving into their chosen professional role. They then follow certain rules to do good work.

Such people genuinely want to take this step. They enjoy using their strengths to serve others or serve something greater than themselves. They then feel a sense of purpose and do their best to achieve specific goals.

A singer may be an introvert but then be transformed when stepping onto stage. They take control of the situation with the power of their voice, movement and charisma. Coming off stage, they may then move back into being an introvert.

A nurse may enjoy the solitude and pleasure of working in her garden. Moving into her role in Accident and Emergency, however, she enjoys taking charge and managing crises. Whilst being uplifted by the camaraderie, she enjoys returning home to the quiet and the chance to recentre.

One leader described how she clicked into role when arriving at work. She explained this in the following way.

“My job as a leader is to encourage people to do good work and achieve the organisation’s goals.

“After driving into the car park I move into role. My aim is to be a positive model and support people. It is also to encourage them to follow the professional guidelines to achieve success. 

“Some of these things come naturally, but sometimes I need to remind myself to keep connecting with people. When doing this, I often take the following steps, but I do this in a sincere way.

“I aim to greet the person and treat them as an individual. If appropriate, I ask them about what is happening in their world. Looking at their work, I clarify what they are working towards and if they need any help.

“I always finish the conversation by ensuring we are clear on the next steps. Sometimes this involves myself or others following up by supporting them to achieve their goals.

“This sounds rather rote, but I am really interested in helping them to do good work here and also shape their future careers. My role as a leader is to help our people and our organisation to achieve success.”

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the specific times you feel genuine when you go into a certain role.

There are many ways to do fine work. One approach is to focus on when you feel genuine. You may do this by being in your element, using your gifts or going into role. Sometimes you may combine all of these aspects on the road towards doing good work.

Imagine that you want to take approach the future. What is the activity you want to pursue? How can you do your best to do good work?

You may aim to do this when encouraging people, practising your chosen craft, finding solutions to challenges or doing another activity. You may aim to do it when working as an educator, trusted advisor, leader or in another role.

If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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